Research evaluation of the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register finds high comprehensiveness for interventional studies and added value to review authors for containing additional references for eligible studies.
The Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register (CCSR) is a freely available collection of study references on COVID-19. The CCSR links different references for the same studies, making all references easier for systematic reviewers to find. The aim of the CCSR is to support rapid and living evidence synthesis, including the CEOsys evidence ecosystem for COVID-19 research. CEOsys is a consortium of 21 German university medical centers providing researchers and guideline developers with a comprehensive, up-to-date source of curated evidence from clinical and public health studies.
As part of CEOsys project, an evaluation study was conducted in November 2020 to measure the CCSR's performance and to identify areas for improvement. The study found high comprehensiveness (sensitivity) for trial registry records (100%) and journal articles (86.5%), interventional studies (94%) and clinical management topics (87%). The evaluation also found high accuracy of the CCSR's study descriptions (e.g., interventional or observational) (93-98%) and rapid publishing times for trial registry records (0.5 day) and journal article records (2 days). Areas for improvement were identified as coverage and publishing times for preprints.
An exciting evaluation finding was that the CCSR contained 112 additional (uncited) references for 286 eligible studies from a sample of COVID-19 systematic reviews from journals with a high impact factor. Of these extra 112 references contained in the CCSR, 70 (62.5%) could have been retrieved at the time the systematic reviews in the sample conducted their searches. This means that systematic reviewers searching the CCSR will find higher coverage of all available references and data for their eligible studies.
The CEOsys evaluation study showed that the CCSR is performing well as a COVID-19 evidence source and provided insights to improve its coverage and publishing times. Further, the evaluation showed the value of study registers to provide a complete evidence-base for the production of systematic reviews. The CEOsys consortium concluded that the CCSR is a time-saving resource for retrieving COVID-19 evidence to support evidence synthesis.
For more information, please see Maria-Inti Metzendorf's and Robin Featherstone's publication in Research Synthesis Methods: